July 13, 2022

How to Stay Safe During Summer Travel

In Insurance, Wealth Strategy

Contributions from: Peter Beeson

On my regularly scheduled afternoon bike ride, it was abundantly clear that summer had arrived! The sun was shining bright, Lake Washington was filled with boats, kayaks, and paddleboards, and kids are out of school and playing outside. Summertime has always been synonymous with having fun. It’s a chance to take a break and spend some extra time with family and friends or venture off on a trip. But before you pack up the car, grab your passport, or head out on the water, consider making time to mitigate these summertime insurance risks.

Tip #1: When creating travel plans, contact your insurance provider and confirm potential gaps in coverage are filled.

Most people assume their insurance coverage is global and only come to terms with the reality of what their coverage provides when it’s too late. If your trip will take you outside the U.S. and Canada, keep in mind your insurance coverage may not apply at all. Even if your plans aren’t international, simply venturing outside your resident state lines may not guarantee you the same coverage options.

Tip #2: Factor in where your travels will take you relative to nearby health/emergency services.

For example, a FIT Insurance client was hiking with some friends in a remote mountain range and had a medical incident which rendered him unconscious. His friends made the call for a helicopter medevac rescue, which resulted in a bill for $36,000.  The client planned ahead and had proper insurance coverage in place. He was elated to learn he wouldn’t have to pay a single cent out-of-pocket for the lift.

Tip #3: Beware of risk when renting boats, mopeds, or going parasailing on vacations.

These types of activities carry with them all kinds of potential risk exposures. It’s important to equip yourself with proper coverage ahead of time, so you can enjoy fun excursions while also having peace of mind. This tip is especially true for popular summer toys such as electric bikes, mopeds, and golf carts.

Tip #4: When adding alcohol into the mix, transfer risk.

Alcohol-related incidents skyrocket during summer months. If you choose to imbibe while on vacation or during leisure-time activities, transfer risk when possible. Transferring risk can help keep you and others safe from unnecessary risk. For example, if you’ve had one too many margaritas (if that’s even possible), don’t drive the golf cart back to your hotel. Assign a designated driver, use a ride-share service, or source another form of transportation that doesn’t put your group at risk.

Tip #5: New toys mean new insurance needs.

If your summer plans call for cooling down by the water on your new toy, get coverage before you even get near the water. Boats, jet skis and watersports are some of the most popular ways to keep cool during summer, but you can never be too careful where people, water, and motorized equipment are involved. A FIT client purchased a jet ski and had it delivered to their dock at 11:00 am on a Friday. By 2:00 pm on Saturday, the jet ski was gone. To this day we don’t know if it was stolen, sank, or what exactly happened to it – we just know the client was out a $30,000 jet ski because he hadn’t added it to his insurance policy.

Tip #6: If you have a swimming pool at your residence, have some rules for the pool.

Two of the most common rules are: 1) young people must always be supervised. Make it known to guests that if there is no adult supervision, there’s no kids in the pool; 2) no alcohol by the pool. Alcohol and aquatics can be a bad combination, so consider sharing mocktails or lemonade during pool parties instead.

Lesser-Known Travel Risks

Here are some lesser-known risk factors and helpful points to consider:

  • For longer vacations (2-4 weeks), consider turning the water off at home or installing an automatic water shut-off valve for when you’re away. Water is welcomed on vacation, but it’s no fun coming home to a house filled with it.
  • Do not put your jewelry inside checked luggage. Keep it in your carry-on or leave it at home. Believe it or not, we’ve had clients lose an extreme amount of jewelry in checked bags.
  • Wait to share vacation photos on social media until after you return. Otherwise, you are broadcasting that your home is vacant, hence, easier to burglarize or vandalize.
  • Similarly, you may consider turning off your newspaper/mail service. Stacks of mail can be an obvious visual indicator that no one is home.
Build A Relationship with Your Insurance Broker

Having an established relationship with your insurance broker is beneficial. It can ensure you receive the best level of care if calamity ensues. Summer is a great time to schedule a regular check-in. The same way you see your doctor for an annual physical, consider this an annual risk check-up with your broker. Doing so will help increase your sense of security as you enjoy this season to the fullest.

Bottom line – call your insurance broker before trips! Share your destination and activity itinerary and ensure you are properly covered.

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